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Nucleic Acids Res. 1999 Apr 1; 27(7): 1578–1584.
PMCID: PMC148359

mRNAs have greater negative folding free energies than shuffled or codon choice randomized sequences.


An examination of 51 mRNA sequences in GenBank has revealed that calculated mRNA folding is more stable than expected by chance. Free energy minimization calculations of native mRNA sequences are more negative than randomized mRNA sequences with the same base composition and length. Randomization of the coding region of genes yields folding free energies of less negative magnitude than the original native mRNA sequence. Randomization of codon choice, while still preserving original base composition, also results in less stable mRNAs. This suggests that a bias in the selection of codons favors the potential formation of mRNA structures which contribute to folding stability.

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